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(Credit: Jester-being)

The unlikely Ben Stiller comedy that Terrence Malick loved

American auteur Terrence Malick has received widespread critical acclaim for his illustrious filmography, which contains multiple masterpieces like Badlands and The Thin Red Line. He is the recipient of major accolades, including an Oscar bid for Best Director as well as the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Malick is responsible for the creation of some of the finest American films made in the latter half of the 20th century and has continued exercising his artistic vision with relatively recent projects like The Tree of Life.

Filmmakers like Malick usually have a vast knowledge of cinematic history, but he is also a huge fan of mainstream productions that dominate pop culture. One such example is Ben Stiller’s action-comedy Zoolander – a truly surreal parody of the excesses of the fashion industry told through the account of a narcissistic fashion icon (played by Stiller) who finds himself in the middle of an assassination plot.

According to multiple reports, Malick maintains a healthy interest in the works of cinematic geniuses like Ingmar Bergman and François Truffaut, as well as the comedy of Ben Stiller and Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea. Malick’s associate Sam Pressman has also revealed that the filmmaker is a huge fan of Jason Derulo: “You’ll hear him say something like, ‘I just heard this Jason Derulo song, Talk Dirty. I haven’t heard a love song like this before.'”

In 2013, the Philbrook Museum of Arts in Tulsa celebrated the 40th anniversary of Malick’s magnum opus Badlands. As a part of its “Films on the Lawn” series, Malick was invited to choose some of his favourite films of all time for the audience to watch before the screening of Badlands. Among his selections were John Huston’s Beat the Devil, Preston Sturges’ 1941 comedy The Lady Eve and quite inevitably, Ben Stiller’s Zoolander.

The museum’s Online Communications Manager, Jeff Martin, said: “We were kind of dumbfounded too when we saw something like Zoolander, which was out of nowhere… These were his personal favourite films. I think one interesting thing about people like him and interesting artists is they always kind of confound our expectations”.

He added: “In some ways it’s best left unsaid, the mystery of it. Just knowing that it’s one of his favourite films is probably better than knowing why”.

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